Intkey and LucID

John Connors J.Connors at PICAN.PI.CSIRO.AU
Thu Mar 20 09:26:14 CET 1997

Forwarded message from Kevin Thiele

- From: Mike Dallwitz

>> DELTA stores a taxon x character matrix. ... Lucid stores a taxon 
>> x state matrix.
> This frequently made assertion is meaningless. The facts are that: (a) 
> DELTA stores an unlimited amount of uncoded (i.e. text) qualifying 
> information with each character state; (b) LucID stores a small, fixed 
> amount (1 byte per state?) of coded qualifying information with each 
> character state; (c) Intkey stores no qualifying information with each 
> state (1 bit per state).

But don't forget that we're talking about the interactive key side of 
things here. DELTA may indeed store a text comment "<by 
misinterpretation>" alongside a state score in the items file, but this 
gets stripped out by TOINT. How do you modulate IntKey so that all taxa 
with misinterpreted states are either retained or rejected from the list 
of taxa remaining? Only by allowing such modulation can you maintain the 
integrity of your data while still allowing that users may misinterpret 
some characters.

Nick Lander writes

> I have serious doubts about the LUCID practice of coding 
> mis-information. This is surely an unacceptable thing to do with 
> scientific data. Much more sophisticated and honest approaches to the 
> problem this practice seeks to tackle are provided by DELTA and INTKEY 
> including provision of adequate Character Notes and Character Images, 
> coupled with appropriate use of the SET TOLERANCE function in INTKEY, 
> and with the use of the USE NORMAL values directive, the creation of 
> special 'informal' characters, and suchlike, not to mention the use of 
> taxon images and full, rigorously-coded taxon descriptions (not blob 
> text).

Please explain what you mean by "the Lucid practice of coding 
misinformation"? I can't see anywhere where a Lucid database forces 
people to be dishonest.

Cheers - Kevin Thiele

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